"Last night as I slumbered I had a strange dream, one that seemed to bring distant friends near. I dreamt of the faces of people I loved, and I awoke with an 'eart full of cheer."
Old Man (Livy Armstrong)
The apocryphal tale told behind this roughly 3.5-minute long jewel of a horror short is that the concept came from a recurring nightmare of the director's sister when she was young. (One can only assume that she must have had an extremely traumatic experience involving a cat as a child.) This surreally unsettling little film has enough nightmarish qualities about it, however, that it is easy to accept that tale as fact: from beginning to end, The Cat with Hands is a beautifully filmed and deeply atmospheric exercise in dream logic and dread that goes exactly where it should.
But then, the short films of Robert Morgan (born 1974), the director and writer of The Cat with Hands, a man who usually works with stop motion in his projects, tend in general to wallow deeply in the unsettling nether-regions of the world of nightmares — see, for example, his recent short Belial's Dream (2017 / full short), a short made as an extra on a DVD re-release of Frank Henenlotter's Basket Case (1982), Morgan's relatively recent Channel X Cartoon Show (2020 / full short), or even his most renowned short, Bobby Yeah (2011 / full film) — all of which, possibly, are as worthy as The Cat with Hands of being chosen a wasted life's Short Film of the Month.
In The Cat with Hands, Morgan merges stop motion with live action to create a dark, Dickensian reality in which an older man (Livy Armstrong of Soho Square [2000 / trailer] and Cash & Curry [2008 / trailer]) with poetic penchant for telling stories is suddenly confronted by an inanely terrifying reality. (Do you really know who that person is with whom you are?)
Set in a yesterday-like world dark and dreary and all off kilter, the setting and the events past and present have an air of dreadful unreality to them; the filmic world, however, nevertheless offers enough of a verisimilitude of yesteryear location to successfully ground the somewhat hallucinatory atmosphere enough that the culminating and effective shock remains as horrific as it is oddly repulsive.
One hopes that Mr Morgan will one day try his hand at a feature film. His vision is a unique one.
It's always a pleasant surprise when you pop in a DVD of an unknown film that you expect to suck and it doesn't. In the case of Lost, we would even say the low-budget independent thriller is surprisingly good, though it does noticeably lose its way towards the end.
Which doesn't mean that it ends as a disappointment: you might be able to see the ending coming, but you cannot but help be pleased that screenwriter and first (and so far only) time director Daren Lemke wasn't afraid of irony, nor of being consequent. Or at least he wasn't when he made Lost 19 years ago: a successful Hollywood screenwriter by now, Lemke's bigger and big-budget credits might range from enjoyable (Shazam! [2019 / trailer]) to mildly enjoyable (Goosebumps [2015 / trailer]) to absolute drivel (Gemini Man [2019 / trailer]), but other than maybe Shazam! they pretty much all lack either irony or consequence.
Full film in German:
What is also pleasantly surprising about Lost is that the virtual one-man show conducted by Dean Cain, an actor that is truly hard not to dislike,* is well-executed and for the most part believable. One might be tempted to simply write off Cain's decent thespian turn as being above all due to the fact that the innately dislikeable actor is playing an innately dislikeable character, but to reduce his performance simply to that completely ignores the fact that more than once during the movie Cain actually manages to make the viewer sympathize with the self-entitled yuppie jerk and, by the movie's resolution, almost feel sorry for him.
*Cain normally looks like a youngified, bloated and supercilious William Shatner but lacks the innate sense of burlesque that makes that elder tub of lard palatable, if but barely. That said, with the right agent Cain could possibly well end up, like Shelley Winters (18 Aug 1920 – 14 Jan 2006), to have a long career as a character actor.
The title Lost plays upon two aspects of the film. The first, and initially lesser obvious aspect, especially at the start of the movie, is that the lead character, banker Jeremy Stanton (Dean Cain), has lost his way in life. ("Be careful which way you turn" is metaphysical here.) A manager of some Californian bank, he is first seen taking some news badly, and then we see him lost on the back roads of Nevada, where neither his map nor his subscriber telephone directional service is of any help to him. Bit by bit, between choleric fits and wrong turns, the reason for his trip is revealed: a self-entitled man who feels slighted, he took what might be called a U-turn in life and must now reach a plane to meet-up with his wife and kid in Mexico.
Unluckily, more than just his drive doesn't go exactly as planned, and before long he has a vengeful, cold-blooded bank robber and killer (Danny Trejo of Anaconda, From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman's Daughter , Seven Mummies , Planet Terror ,Rise of the Zombies  and so much more) not just on his trail, but having fun with the chase. And thus, the former upright banker, whose desire to have that which he feels is owed to him has led him to lose his straight-and-narrow way of life, is desperately driving roads unknown and unfamiliar to reach a location and future that he can't find, with only the unnaturally excellent mobile phone reception to help him...
What sounds like a boring set-up — some dude lost for 1.5 hours: how exciting can that be? — is actually an involving film with moments of deadpan humor, tense suspense, and even Kafka-tinged existentialism (sometimes, life just doesn't deal a good hand). Banker Stanton becomes more human over the course of the film, despite his initial assholism and the multitude of stupid things he does along the way, which helps make the ending hit all the harder — even if the ending does sort of announce itself in advance the minute Judy (Ashley Scott of Trespassing), the friendly voice on the telephone, suddenly becomes unnaturally helpful. Trejo, as the violent and (for most of the film) faceless robber Edward Archer, also deserves his kudos: even if one doesn't know who he is or how he looks behind the mask he's usually wearing when he is shown in full, he parlays a lot of threat and danger into both his character's voice and manner, giving the stock character a palatable aura of menace.
Judy in Lost —
you never see her:
In regards to the narrative, aside from the flashes of dry humor, it is the structure of the first half of Lost that makes the movie so involving: the narrative reveals important plot elements in fits and dollops, so you only learn the background story behind things bit by bit, which plays with and twists our expectations as a viewer. Once all the cards are on the table, things do get a bit more predictable, but never less interesting.
Don't be mistaken: Lost is not some unknown masterpiece. It is simply a well-made if somewhat flawed independent thriller that manages to make its simple concept an enjoyable and gripping ride. Likewise, the cast does an excellent job. Combined, that alone makes Lost waaaay better than most of the bigger-budgeted crap that gets a big release and a ton of press. Definitely worth searching out if obscure, decently made low-budget movies are your thing — or if you simply like a good crime thriller. Lost is truly a film that does not deserve to be lost to obscurity
To more or less repeat what we have written in all previous seven entries of out multi-part Babe of Yesteryear review of the babes of Russ Meyer's Beyond the Valley of the Dolls: Fifty-two years and seven months ago, on 17 June 1970, Russ Meyer's baroque masterpiece Beyond the Valley of the Dolls hit the silver screens in the US of Anal. One of only two movies Meyer ever made for a major Hollywood studio (in this case, Fox), Beyond the Valley of the Dolls is without a doubt one of the Babest movies ever made.
"Using unknowns you avoid highly exaggerated salaries and prima donnas." Russ Meyer
While we have yet to review Beyond the Valley of the Dolls here at a wasted life (if we did, we would foam at the mouth in raging rave), we have looked at it before: back in 2011, in our R.I.P. Career Review of Charles Napier (12 Apr 1936 – 5 Oct 2011), and again in 2013 in our R.I.P. Career Review of the Great Haji (24 Jan 1946 – 10 Aug 2013) — both appear in the film.
"This is not a sequel. There has never been anything like it!" Advertisement tagline
In Haji's entry, we were wrote, among other things: "Originally intended as a sequel to the 1967 movie version of Jacqueline Susann's novel Valley of the Dolls (trailer), Meyer and co-screenwriter Roger Ebert instead made a Pop Art exploitation satire of the conventions of the modern Hollywood melodrama, written in sarcasm but played straight, complete with a 'moralistic' ending that owes its inspiration to the Manson-inspired murder of Sharon Tate and her guests on 9 August 1969. Aside from the movie's absolutely inane plot, the cinematography is also noteworthy — as are the figures of the pneumatic babes that populate the entire movie. For legal reasons, the film starts with the following disclaimer: 'The film you are about to see in not a sequel to Valley of the Dolls. It is wholly original and bears no relationship to real persons, living or dead. It does, like Valley of the Dolls, deal with the oft-times nightmare world of show business but in a different time and context.' [...]"
Russ Meyer films are always populated by amazing females sights, but this one literally overflows its cups in an excess of pulchritude that (even if somewhat more demurely covered than in many of his films) lights the fires of any person attracted to women of the curvaceous kind that preceded today's sculptured plasticity. The film is simply Babe Galore – and so, for the prior half year and the months to come, we're looking at the T&A film careers of the women of the Babest Film of All Times, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. The size of their breasts roles is of lesser importance than the simple fact that they are known to be in the movie somewhere, so we will look at the known unknowns in the background and the headlining semi-knowns in the front. That is, but for one notable exception: the National Treasure that is the Great Pam Greer. Though she had her film debut in Beyond the Valley of the Dolls somewhere in the background, and therefore should be included, we feel that an American Treasure of her caliber deserves an entry all of her own — a Sisyphean task we might one day take on...
And now: Part VIII: Background Babe of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls — Karen Smith
Little is known about Karen Smith, but then one cannot have a more generic name than "Smith" — and it's not like "Karen" is a rare name, either. (Hell, nowadays you run into Karens everywhere.) This Karen's limited acting career seems to have never truly taken off, and then only slowly faded away. By 1981, she disappeared. We have been unable to locate any information (date or location of birth, marriage, etc.) that would make online detective work feasible. If you know anything about her — where she came from, where she went, what she's doing now — feel free to fill us in. The image above is based on her appearance in Freaky Friday (1976).
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls
(1970, dir. Russ Meyer)
Karen Smith plays a redhead, appropriately enough as red was the color of her hair. (Should she still be alive today, we assume it would now be grey.) Beyond the Valley of the Dolls was released 17 June 1970, which, going by her filmography at the imdb, makes her appearance in this movie her on-screen (silver or small) acting debut.
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls:
The plot, as found at AFI: "Tired of playing to high school audiences, Kelly (Dolly Read), Casey (Cynthia Myers), and Pet (Marcia McBroom), members of a rock trio, travel to Hollywood, California, accompanied by Harris Allsworth (David Gurian), the band's manager and Kelly's lover. There, they are befriended by Kelly's Aunt Susan (Phyllis Davis), an advertising executive, who, despite the misgivings of her lawyer, Porter Hall (Duncan McLeod), decides to share with Kelly the family fortune. At an orgy the band is discovered by the effeminate entrepreneur host, Ronnie 'Z-Man' Barzell (John La Zar), who rechristens them 'The Carrie Nations.' Among lovers quickly acquired at Ronnie's party are Lance (Michael Blodgett), a boorish gigolo, who enters into a liaison with Kelly; Emerson (Harrison Page), a law student who wins Pet's love; and Roxanne (Erica Gavin), a lesbian designer who captures Casey's heart. As the celebrated trio perform on national television, Harris, distraught by Kelly's infidelity and Casey's impregnation by him, hurls himself from the catwalk. He is rushed to the hospital, where Dr. Scholl (Dan White) informs Kelly that Harris can look forward to life as a paraplegic. Realizing that Harris is her true love, Kelly devotes herself to his care. Touched by Casey's plight, Roxanne arranges an abortion. Ronnie invites Lance, Roxanne, and Casey to a private party, at which costumes are distributed. Dressed as Superwoman, Ronnie attempts to seduce Lance, who is attired in a loin cloth. Rejected, Ronnie binds the gigolo. After revealing that he is, in fact, a woman, Ronnie bears her breasts, brandishes a sword, and chops off Lance's head. She then plunges a gun into the sleeping Roxanne's mouth and fires. Terrified, Casey phones her friends, who rush to her rescue but arrive too late. As Emerson and Kelly attempt to subdue Ronnie, the gun discharges, killing the transvestite. During the fray, however, the crippled Harris is miraculously cured. In a triple wedding ceremony, Kelly and Harris, Pet and Emerson, and Aunt Susan and an old love are united."
From the soundtrack —
The Carrie Nations sing I'm Coming Home:
Love American Style:
"Love and the Understanding"
(1970, dir. Buddy Tyne)
Normally we skip the TV credits, but this could well be Karen Smith's speaking role debut. Love American Style is one of those shows that are amazingly unfunny today, but in its day it lasted five seasons — and often features the faces of then-unknown now-famous names, if not then-famous and now dead and forgotten. Love and the Understanding is the second segment of the 12th episode of the second season, which aired 11 Dec 1970. In it, Karen plays Candy — and she looks like candy, in a deliciously dated sort of way. Director "Buddy Tyne" is actually actor/director George Tyne (6 Feb 1917 – 7 Mar 2008), yet another formerly blacklisted actor, though he somehow managed to continue working, if primarily as a TV director.
Full Segment —
Love and the Understanding:
Cactus in the Snow
(1971, writ. & dir. A. Martin Zweiback)
A.k.a. You Can't Have Everything. Cactus in the Snow, a forgotten film, seems to be the only directorial project of Able Martin Zweiback (14 Mar 1931 – 23 Apr 2016), who was more active as a scriptwriter. He worked on the commercial flop that is The Mad Room (opening credits), for example, a loose horror "remake" of 1941's Ladies in Retirement (full film).
Cactus in the Snow had a small VHS release of around 1000 copies in the 80s [Lost Media Archive], but since then has completely disappeared. Karen Smith should have a small, uncredited role somewhere in the movie.
The common, short plot description found everywhere online, taken here from Video Detective: "A young American soldier (Richard Thomas of Battle Beyond the Stars [1980 / trailer] and You'll Like My Mother [1972 / trailer]) desperately wants to lose his virginity before he's shipped off to Vietnam. He meets a friendly young woman (Mary Layne) who appears willing to help him solve his 'problem.' But there's something she hasn't told him..." (For a very detailed plot description, see the AFI Catalog.)
(1971, dir. Corey Allen)
"It's not his nose that grows!"
Based on The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi (24 Nov 1826 – 26 Oct 1890). "Chris Warfield and Corey Allen's 'adults only' version of Pinocchio was rated X by the MPAA in 1970 and originally released by Russ & Eve Meyer's company, Eve Productions, under the title The Voluptuary. Somewhere along the way, some other company called Lima Productions also offered The Voluptuary to theatres, along with Chris Warfield's Little Miss Innocence (1973 / short version) and Ted Roter's Norma (1970, see Uschi Part II)...
"By the time Adam Film World magazine issued this 66-page photo comic (or 'adult cinemastrip') in October 1971 [image below], however, the onscreen title had been changed to Pinocchio, with all advertising materials hyping it as The Erotic Adventures of Pinocchio, presumably so it wouldn't be confused with the Disney classic (1940 / trailer) or Ron Merk's kiddie matinees like Pinocchio's Birthday Party (1973 / trailer). [Paperback Film Projector]"
Karen Smith, who is even credited on the poster, has a sizable speaking role in The Erotic Adventures of Pinocchio as Mabella, the first woman to get Pinocchio to start growing. That's her on the cover of the "adult cinemastrip" above, as well as directly below, where's she's reacting to what she sees growing.
We took look at this movie before, in Uschi Digard, Part V: 1971, Part II, because the Great Uschi appears in the breast-heavy sex comedy for a few heavier-breasted moments as Lily, a lesbian with a man's voice, who is converted by Pinocchio's prowess.
The Erotic Adventures of Pinocchio was co-written by Chris Warfield (29 March 1927 – 1 May 1996), who also co-produced the movie as "Billy Thornberg", the name he used as director, writer and/or producer of a number of Golden Age porn films. And could it be? If the imdbis correct, he's the man that the pneumatic Eve Meyer [13 Dec 1928 – 27 Mar 1977], pictured below from her 1955 Playboy centerfold, married after divorcing Russ Meyer — a "fact" we haven't been able to confirm elsewhere. The marriage, like most in the US of Ambivalence, was short-lived: 13 December 1968 – March 1970.
Both Chris Warfield and Pinocchio's director Corey Allen (29 June 1934 – 27 June 2010) began as small-time actors, with Allen even having a speaking part in Rebel without a Cause (1955 / trailer). Unlike Warfield, however, Allen eventually segued into TV and wrangled his way into a long and successful career as a TV director. Most of Warfield's activities were conducted as "Billy Thornberg", but among his mainstream credits is a big role in the Vincent Price horror, Diary of a Madman (1963 / trailer). The cinematography for Pinocchio was done by cult director Ray Dennis Steckler (25 Jan 1938 – 7 Jan 2009), bad-film auteur extraordinaire. This seems to be the only movie the guy playing Pinocchio, Alex Roman, ever made: Robert Arthur Lockwood (his real name) died before the movie was even released.
Edited trailer to
The Erotic Adventures of Pinocchio:
At All Movie, Clarke Fountain offers the following synopsis: "This is a bawdy burlesque version of the famous fairy tale. Instead of Gepetto, the old-man woodcarver, we have Geppeta (Monica Gayle), an apparently frustrated and nubile young virgin. Geppeta carves Pinocchio (Alex Roman) for herself as a gorgeous young hunk. Geppeta's fairy godmother, a blonde played by Dyanne Thorne (14 Oct 1936 – 28 Jan 2020), magically transforms the young stud Pinocchio into a living man, who is quickly brought to work in the local whorehouse as a prize stud and exhibitionist. Nothing — not even sex — is taken seriously in this lighthearted, semi-pornographic offering."
For that, Teenage Frankenstein says, "For all the talk of the softcore films of the era being more innocent, this feels tawdry and sleazy despite being less explicit than the eventual hardcore boom."
Dyanne Thorne & Alex Roman:
Rock!Shock!Pop! was likewise not impressed: "Not the most interesting 'adult' film you'll ever see, this one has its moments but is, for the most part, fairly lackluster. The best thing about it is Dyanne Thorne (seen below not from the film), who is actually pretty amusing as the fairy godmother. She's well cast, frequently naked, and clearly in good spirits here, giving her all and delivering an enthusiastic performance. Uschi is underused, but it's fun to see her in the small part she's been given. Karen Smith looks great but her character [Mabella] is a cliché, while Monica Gayle follows suit — she looks great, but Gepetta, despite being the female lead for the most part, just isn't that interesting. The film puts too much stock in Alex Roman. He looks the part, he's handsome enough and in good shape, but he has no charisma at all and winds up sinking the film."
Back at All Movie, Robert Firsching would beg to differ, saying: "This cute softcore burlesque is worth seeing for the cast alone. Director Corey Allen takes a rowdy, Benny Hill-type music hall approach to the comedy, which isn't to everyone's taste, but has its moments. [...] Dyanne Thorne makes a great Fairy Godmother, and a running joke has her accidentally making her own clothes disappear each time she waves her magic wand. Alex Roman is funny and charming as Pinocchio, although by the end of the film — when he's wandering around with a five-foot-long blanket-covered organ in a baby carriage — one gets the feeling that he will never work again. Rat-faced Eduardo Ranez is great as the smarmy JoJo, and later turned up in Cafe Flesh (1982 / scene). [...]"
While we don't know the year that The Erotic Adventures of Pinocchio was screened at the Nebraskan Grand Island Drive-In, we definitely find the quadruple-feature saliva-inducing. The New Adventures of Snow White a.k.a. Grimm's Fairy Tales for Adults (1969 / trailer) is a German sexploiter from director Rolf Thiele (7 Mar 1918 – 9 Oct 1994) that features, among others, Walter Giller; Cinderella 2000 (1977 / trailer) is a tacky sci-fi musical (!) exploiter by the fabulously Z-grade filmmaker Al Adamson (25 July 1929 – 21 June 1995 [murdered]), who also made the disasterpiece Dracula vs. Frankenstein (1971); and Alice in Wonderland (1976 / trailer), directed by Bud Townsend (17 Oct 1921 – 19 Sept 1997), the director of Nightmare in Wax (1969), is a Golden Age attempt at an upscale musical porn movie. (Go to the Rialto Report for Alice in Wonderland: What Really Happened.)
By the way, the title song to The Erotic Adventures of Pinocchio, entitled Oh My Pinocchio, is sung by Kathy Cahill, someone you've never heard of but who was one of the main original members of an easy listening singing group you've never heard of, The Doodletown Pipers — a fact we mention just so that we can embed one of their songs below. Sleep well.
The Doodletown Pipers sing
Blowin' in the Wind (1967):
Over at the Rialto Report, they finally got around to interviewing the softcore beauty that is Malta a.k.a. Neola Graf [Malta's Story], who is likewise in the movie (she's on the poster) and also did some of the costumes. She says that The Erotic Adventures of Pinocchio "was truly a joyous romp for everyone involved — I think you can see it in the performances. What surprised me was the almost total lack of sex scenes, with two exceptions (one of them with a wooden statue!). All of Pinocchio's encounters are comic and don't really show anything. I don't see how an adult movie like that ever made any money — all production value, no sex!" She also reveals what she believes to be the details behind the death of Alex Roman a.k.a. Robert Arthur Lockwood (4 Oct 1929 – 6 Dec 1970): "Shortly after we wrapped, he died in a freak accident while on a boat off Catalina. He dove down to check on a snagged anchor and never surfaced — I don't remember what the cause was, but it was a tragedy. He wasn't that different from his character — truly innocent and nice, as well as being a pretty good actor, and, of course, drop-dead gorgeous. Everyone was saying that he had a future in Hollywood." According to newspaper reports, however, he actually died when became entangled in kelp while scuba diving.
In regard to Karen Smith, Malta mentions that "It was a welcome change to work with professionals such as Karen Smith, and the actor who played Jojo [Eduardo Ranez], who stole the movie without ever taking his clothes off."
You've Got to Walk It like You Talk It or
You'll Lose that Beat
(1971, writ. & dir. Peter Locke)
Karen Smith has a brief appearance as a pickpocket in this counterculture comedy, which premiered at the Cine Malibu and Cinema Village on 19 Sept 1971.
The movie stars Zalman King (23 May 1942 – 3 February 2012), and we looked at ten years ago in his R.I.P. Career Review, where we wrote: "[...] This film, written and directed by Peter Locke (who went on to do the X-rated movie It Happened in Hollywood [1973 / review at Shock Cinema] and the titty comedy The Carhops [1975*] before entering a long and productive career as producer**), was King's first lead role in a feature film. The plot, according to TV Guide: 'King is an idealistic young man who is seeking the meaning of life among the inanities and absurdities of New York. In Central Park he is set upon by a fat black woman and he watches incredulously as a young man exposes his behind to an old woman shouting obscenities at him. After many such ridiculous adventures, he finally marries an understanding girl, becomes a father, gets a job, and, seemingly in a jiffy, he loses the job, his wife leaves him with the baby, and he is back in Central Park still seeking the "meaning" of it all. A mishmash of intent and execution and too annoyingly clumsy to watch.' Richard Pryor appears as a wino. The soundtrack of You've Got to Walk It like You Talk It or You'll Lose that Beat is notable as being some of the earliest released music by Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, otherwise known as Steely Dan." *For more on Carhops, a.k.a. Kitty Can't Help It, go to Uschi Part VIII: 1975. ** Locke produced Wes Craven's first movie, the x-rated Fireworks Woman (1975), as well as Sweet Cakes (1976), the porn movie in which Craven makes a non-sex appearance as a photographer shooting the Young Twins, Brooke and Taylor. Later jobs as producer include the films Talisman(1998), Beowulf(1999), and a plethora of bad movies we've seen but never reviewed.
Title track to
You've Got to Walk It like You Talk It or
You'll Lose that Beat:
AFI Catalog says that Wes Craven has an onscreen credit for film editing. They also offer further information not provided by TV Guide: "While seeking refuge in the men's room, Carter is badgered by a garrulous drunk and a singing woman dressed in black lace (Peter Locke's later wife Liz Torres). Carter's attempts at finding sexual fulfillment are stymied by the fact that he suffers nosebleeds during intercourse. Depressed, Carter attempts suicide by hanging himself but fails in this endeavor, too. Carter then tries to find help in a group therapy session, but finds that his group is composed of an assortment of neurotics, including Herby Moss (Allen Garfield [22 Nov 1939 – 7 Apr 2020]), the mastermind behind a gang of Campfire Girl pickpockets [one of whom is Karen Smith]. Carter finally finds happiness when he marries a lovely woman named Susan (Suzette Green), becomes a father and is hired by an exclusive Madison Avenue advertising agency. Carter's contentment is short-lived..."
In 2014, the Temple of Schlock (which also lists Wes Craven as an editor of the film) added You've Got to Walk It like You Talk It or You'll Lose that Beat to its endangered list (File #147) of apparently lost films. "Fans of the Dan have sought out copies of the soundtrack album for decades now, keeping memories of the film alive. The film's director, Peter Locke, might prefer if that were not the
case, saying the film is not very good and implying he's happy with its
current obscurity. [Listverse]"
(1976, dir. Gary Nelson)
Five years after the lost film that is You've Got to Walk It like You Talk It or You'll Lose that Beat, Karen Smith finely makes another movie — a Disney film. That's her below to the left from a scene in the film...
In between You've Got to Walk It like You Talk It or You'll Lose that Beat and this film, she had a few TV credits, but nothing really noteworthy. This movie, the first version of novel of the same name, was scripted by the novelist herself, Mary Rodgers (11 Jan 1931 – 26 Jun 2014). It is considered the best of the four official versions made to date, which includes a TV remake (1995 / trailer) and a TV musical version (2018 / trailer), and the 2003 (trailer) version starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Whatsherface. Karen Smith plays a character named Mary Kay Gilbert — in the first version, of course.
TV Spot for
The plot: "A harried mother (Barbara Harris [25 Jul 1935 – 21 Aug 2018]) thinks her 13-year-old daughter's life is a bed of roses. The daughter (Jodie Foster of The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane ) is similarly envious of her mother. Each wishes she could trade places with the other, and miraculously, one freaky Friday they exchange bodies. While Mom is experiencing the hilarious horrors of junior high school, the teenager is finding out what it's like to be an overburdened wife and mother. Both are glad to see the end of that day. [Retro Junk]"
"Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Freaky Friday is that Foster and Harris are both entirely convincing as their alternate personalitied-selves. Most body-swap movies involve actors trying to imitate each other and failing miserably. These actresses, fortunately, perform flawlessly. Harris is almost too good as the bubble-gum chewing, rock-n-roll dancing Annabel-as-Ellen, and Foster draws a few laughs herself as she prisses around, using a very adult Ellen-as-Annabel voice. Throw in supporting performances by Sparky Marcus as Apeface and John 'Gomez Addams' Astin, and how can you not watch this masterpiece? [Stomp Tokyo]"
The credit sequence —
"Ellen Andrews" and "Annabel Andrews" sing
I'd Like to be You for a Day:
(1979, dir. Gerald Seth Sindell)
Karen Smith has a minor part as Candi, and we saw this way too long ago to even remember who Candi should be. H.O.T.S. — a.k.a. T&A Academy — was a cable fav back when cable TV was a thing.
Wow: imagine that someone — W. Terry Davis — is actually credited for the "original idea" behind this movie. How creative! How new! A teen exploitation film about the wacky, sexy shenanigans of a sorority house. We can imagine the pitch: "Animal House (1978 / trailer) with tits!"
And what love pillows indeed: of the leading ladies, three are former Playboy playmates — Susan Kiger (January 1977), who in 1976 also chowed down a flesh banana in the X-rated Deadly Love a.k.a. Hot Nasties (1976 / NSFW film), Miss April 1978 Pamela Bryant (8 Feb 1959 – 4 Dec 2010), and Miss June 1974 Sandy Johnson — not mention Angela Aames (27 Feb 1956 – 27 Nov 1988). The cuppeths runneth over, to say the least.
Of the two scriptwriters needed to come up with the intelligent, Oscar-worthy script, Cheri Caffaro is well remembered as the shapely, blonde exploitation bombshell of note found in Ginger (1971 / trailer), its sequel The Abductors (1972 / dance scene, see Harry Reems Part II) and the franchise's closing film, Too Hot to Handle (1977 / scene), as well as A Place Called Today (1972 / full movie, see Harry Reems Part IV), Savage Sisters (1974 / trailer), and more. She is also an associate producer of this masterpiece of subtle humor.
Director Gerald Seth Sindell had a short film career and who knows what he's doing now, but prior to H.O.T.S. he directed the intriguing but fully forgotten, arty biker exploitation film, Teenager (1974 / full film).
"H.O.T.S. [is] an unassuming (albeit fun) T&A movie from the late 70s. Rampant sexism and fat shaming abound in a time before political correctness was even the slightest concern. The plot is simple. A college girl hears the rich leaders of a snobby sorority making fun of her for being poor. In order to get back at them, she starts her own sorority with the primary goal of sleeping with the boyfriends of every PI girl. Throw in some escaped bank robbers and a bear in a hot air balloon and you have H.O.T.S. in a nutshell. [Dr Humpp]"
"Whatever else, you have to admit that, in the first minute, H.O.T.S. lets you know exactly what you're in for. The introductory image, backed with appropriately academic music, is of a nude male statue, as a superimposed title informs us this is 'FAIRENVILLE UNIVERSITY'. The statue's modestly concealing fig leaf falls away, as the title changes to 'Fondly known as Good Ol' F.U.' [...] It could be pointed out that the screenplay was written by two women, but then the pointer would be hard-pressed to explain why two women would write such an anti-feminist movie. [Stomp Tokyo]"
"So what, exactly, is this 1970s relic? It's: 1) A low-budget rip-off of the previous year's comedy smash, Animal House; 2) An attempt to lure sex-crazed males by showcasing boobs, boobs, and an occasional butt; 3) The precursor to a slew of 1980s T&A crap (it predates Porky's [1982 / trailer]); 4) A good-hearted, lame-brained waste of 95 minutes; 5) An attempt to lure sex-crazed males by showcasing boobs, boobs, and an occasional butt. [...] So why should you waste time watching this nonsense, or even see it more than once like, ahem, some of us have? 1) It stars post-Partridge Family, pre-radio host Danny Bonaduce, one of the few actors in the cast who can handle the dialogue, no matter how lame it is. 2) The 'plot,' some folderol about competing sororities, includes a pet seal, a drunken bear, topless parachuting, and awful 1970s fashion and music. 3) Susan Kiger's boobs, K.C. Winkler's ass, Lindsay Bloom's boobs, and ... first and foremost, the greatest strip-football game ever to grace the silver screen. [Grouchy Editor]"
In Germany, where H.O.T.S. was released as T&A Academy, Paul Justerman's Gimme an 'F' (1984 / full film) was eventually repackaged as T&A Academy II. In the US, on VHS, Jack Hills' Swinging Cheerleaders (1974 / trailer) hit the shelves at one point as H.O.T.S. II, while Richard Lerner's Revenge of the Cheerleaders (1976 / trailer) eventually became H.O.T.S. III.
Long ago, at the Collins Road Drive-in, H.O.T.S. was part of a boob bonanza and screened with its eventual VHS "sequel" Swinging Cheerleaders and the low-grade stewardess flick, Fly Me (1973, with Dick Miller). At the Geneva in CA., it got well-paired with the low-grade Cheerleaders Beach Party (1978 / trailer).
(1981, dir. Boaz Davidson)
A.k.a. Hospital Massacre, Be My Valentine... Or Else!, and Ward 13. A slasher starring Barbi Benton as the Final Girl; Karen Smith shows up to play Nurse Kitty — not one of the nurses that die. The bodycount is ten, including the killer Harry (Charles Lucia of Tank Girl ).
Over at All Movie, Cavett Binion has the plot to what he calls a "lurid, misogynist slasher": "This opus employs the usual '20 years later'* motif in its presentation of a heavy-breathing maniac (Lucia) who has been relentlessly stalking the now-grown object of a jilted childhood crush (former Playboy playmate** and '80s television staple Barbi Benton). He finally tracks her to the hospital where she has arrived for a routine physical and switches her x-rays with those of a terminally ill patient in order to buy more time in which to plan the ultimate realization of his revenge. His actions are timed to coincide with Valentine's Day, exactly 20 years after he murdered her brother (depicted in one of the most hilariously contrived death scenes in horror film history) in retaliation for laughing at his timid attempts to woo her. While Benton is dutifully stripping down for gratuitous head-to-toe examinations, the killer is busily roaming the halls in surgical garb, slaughtering doctors, nurses, and patients alike with a wide assortment of medical equipment."
*In Valentine(2001), the killer, another Valentine's Day incel, only waited 13 years to get around to getting revenge. **Trivia time: Barbi Benton, below from the film, was nevera playmate. She was simply Hef's main gal for years and years, and the subject of numerous non-Playmate pictorials.
"Anyway, Hospital Massacre [...] is certainly a little oddity in the history of more obscure slashers incorporating a great deal of surrealism. It is a strange mix of the sub-genre's tropes, quirky cheesy humour from its weirdo supporting characters and more unintentional ridiculousness. [...] The proceedings move along at a brisk pace; there never really is a dull moment as the adequately executed set-pieces are not too far apart that entail some genuine creepiness. The kills are plentiful with all kinds of medical equipment at the killer's disposal, nothing gory, but there is a fair dose of red splatter as he murders any staff that might get in the way and ruin his plans for Susan. Director Boaz Davidson also manages to build a fair bit of suspense and tension and there are some truly bizarre scenes to induce the feeling of isolation in the pitch darkness at night of the abandoned parts of the hospital creating a peculiar atmosphere. [...] There is more sleaze, too, as a doctor makes her strip down to her undies; Benton is easy on the eyes and [...] is also a likable protagonist as we root for her in her confused state as to what is going on, and she puts up a good final-girl fight against her maniac stalker in an entertaining finale. [Cinematic Shocks]"
Alan Ober's music for
"Hospital Massacre is all the better for not being taken seriously and [Davidson's] numerous comical touches are responsible for the film's few redeeming features. To his eternal credit, aside from a tendency to veer ominously towards slapstick on more than one occasion throughout, he plays it straight down the line. A fair share of the laughs will be gleaned at the film's expense and, while many of these are unintentional, it all makes for a surprisingly affable 89-minute beer and buddies no-brainer. [Rivers of Grue]"
"Surprisingly [...], Benton is the best actress in this thing (although admittedly thespian qualities are not over-abundant in X-Ray); she is fairly believable as a hysterical victim amongst the sea of wood around her. If it weren't for the overwhelming ineptness of the production, some scenes could have taken on a nightmarish quality: the bit where Benton rushes into a room pleading for help only to find that (presumably the killer) has wrapped everyone head to toe in bandage (!), and where the killer who, holding out a white sheet and is menacingly silhouetted, pursues a female doctor down a darkened corridor. There is also some enjoyably oddball dialogue [...] The kills are fairly inventive but, with a few notable exceptions, the film is fairly light on gore [...]. And you don't really care about anyone in this movie apart from Benton. People are just wheeled out every ten minutes or so to be disposed of with bone-saws and the like. Or worse wheeled out given a few minutes screen time (usually to provide a woefully half-hearted 'red herring'), and then just disappear. [Hysteria Lives]"
"[But] so what if the surgeon killer is more goofy than scary, the chanting occult soundtrack is wildly inappropriate and the pacing, on occasion gets slower than an IV drip. Hospital Massacre has a kooky Kafka on quaaludes vibe that should carry lovers of cult film straight on through to the other side. I was a doubter myself until Barbi stumbled into a room with three patients bandaged head to toe that just start convulsing like break dancing marionettes. Like most of the film, it's surreal, funny and not meant to be taken too seriously. Plus, in Hospital Massacre you get a decapitated head in a hat box, that's a pretty good Valentine gift, right? [Kindertraume]"